The U.S. and Japan are conducting separate military drills with the Philippines near disputed islands in the South China Sea, says a report in Reuters.
The naval exercises is not far from the disputed Spratly archipelago, where China's rapid creation of seven island outposts is stoking regional tensions.
Japan will dispatch a P-3C patrol aircraft to the South China Sea, to join a military exercise with the Philippines navy.
Japanese media quoted Tomohisa Takei, chief of staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
, as saying that the exercise will take place in high seas north of the Philippines' Palawan Island from Sunday until June 27th.
The AFP media agency says that the Philippines will hold a joint military exercise with the US and Japan. The report says a US-guided missile cruiser has arrived at Yokosuka port in Japan. Analysts say the joint drill may escalate tensions in the region.
The US will be sending a P-3C Orion
spy aircraft, littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth and rescue ship USNS Safeguard for the exercises.
A Philippine military official said there was no plan for the Philippine, U.S. and Japanese navies to hold combined exercises on Palawan island, 160 km (100 miles) from the Spratlys, although the drills could intersect because Manila had limited naval assets.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino
has rallied neighbors to more aggressively respond to China’s efforts to enforce its claims to 80 percent of the waters.